HE is a former policeman who has turned his back on fighting crime in favour of a life of comedy and magic.

Now John Archer is bringing his unique brand of entertainment to Hampshire, just months before he jets off to Las Vegas where he will open the show for world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller.

He is interrupting his UK tour with comedian Tim Vine to perform a special one-off show in Totton on Easter Saturday.

With a long list of celebrity fans including Derren Brown and Geoffrey Durham, John was named the Magic Circle’s Magician of the Year for 2008/9.

He recently found fame after duping Penn & Teller on their Jonathan Ross-hosted ITV1 show Penn & Teller: Fool Us, when the duo were left dumbfounded by one of his comedy tricks.

John will perform at Testwood Baptist Church to help raise cash for the Totton Family Fun Day, being held in June.

Organiser Steve Reynolds said: “We saw John performon ITV and, as one of our congregation knew him, decided to book him before other venues grabbed him.

“Everywhere you go there appears to be bad news. We believe that laughter is a good medicine and know that this man will bring bucketloads of laughs as well as outstandingly clever illusionary.”

Tickets for the 550-seat auditorium cost £7 for adults and £5 for children.

They are available by calling 023 8086 0320 or visiting the church in Salisbury Road, Totton.